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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Southeast RavenLiving in a Fish Camp

Grades K - 5

City and Borough of Juneau School District

10014 Crazy Horse Dr.
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Department of Education
Title IV-A Indian Education Act
Grant #N008500191

*NO portion to be reproduced without the written consent of the Juneau Indian Studies Program.


Second Grade units trace the oral history of the migration of a large group of Tlingit people from the interior to the coast. Students will be able to retell this ancient story with their families in preparation for learning about daily life in a Tlingit Winter House.

As we construct a winter house in the classroom, your class will practice the concept of individual groups working together to complete a community task. Students will learn about common household articles, such as a bentwood box, seal oil lamp, and a cooking basket. As students listen to traditional Tlingit stories they are encouraged to play the roles of family members and their daily tasks.

After the salmon, berries and other summer-fall seasonal foods have been gathered and preserved for winter use, people plan potlatch celebrations to share, through their wealth, feelings of respect for each other. Your class will plan their participation in a potlatch, preparing food to share, songs and dancing and ceremonial vests to wear. Throughout this planning, your students will learn how we show respect to each other by listening, sharing, complimenting and thanking. A little bit of the "magic" of community is felt by all who participate in the potlatch experience.

Social Studies Emphasis: The Greater Community


Unit I: Our Southeast Environment

Students continue learning that culture is a people's adaptation to their environment. Awareness of our southeast environment is integrated with the Tlingit historical migration patterns from the interior to the coast. On a map we follow the way people came to this area.

Day 1 The Stikine Migration: "Making a Storyboard for Retelling the Story"

  • History of Stikine Migration of Tlingits to the coast
  • Ancestors of many Juneau Tlingits came from this migration


  • Retelling of the migration story
  • Listing salt water creatures that live in southeast Alaska
  • Drawing a salt water creature 

Day 2 Auke Bay Map: "Making a Map of Auke Bay and the Resources of this Area"

  • Characteristics of an eagle
  • Landmarks of Douglas and Juneau area
  • Animals and birds of the Juneau area 


  • Mapping skills
  • Matching map parts

Unit II: Living in a Tlingit Winter House

We construct a Tlingit Winter House in the classroom as a center for learning about traditional family life, household utensils and the potlatch. Students prepare salmon and ceremonial clothing as they role-play family and clan social roles.

Day 3 Constructing a Tlingit Winter House: ''Making a House Learning Center in the Classroom"

  • Construction of a traditional Tlingit winter house
  • Family roles in a traditional Tlingit winter house 


  • Co-operation in construction groups
  • Sewing a button on a headband
  • Role-play of family member
  • Listening to a recorded Tlingit legend

Day 4 Making a Bentwood Box "Making a Small Bentwood 'Treasure' Box"

  • Respect for the spirit in trees


  • How to make a bentwood box
  • How a bentwood box is used


  • Patience in working with materials
  • Assisting friends
  • Following spoken directions 

Day 5 Finishing Bentwood Boxes/Planning a Potlatch: "Putting Bottoms in Bentwood Boxes and Decorating Them with Rubber Stamp Clan Designs"

  • Social organization of Tlingit families (Clan and Moiety)
  • Crest designs used by clans and moieties
  • Preparation for a potlatch


  • Matching pictures of clan designs
  • Choosing an appropriate clan design to decorate a bentwood box
  • Participating in a potlatch planning discussion

Day 6 Preparing Smoked Salmon: "Cutting a Salmon and Beginning to Prepare it For the Smoker"

  • Respect for salmon
  • Spirituality 


  • Salmon anatomy
  • How salmon is prepared as smoked salmon


  • Observation of salmon preparation
  • Listening to spoken directions

Day 7 Tlingit Song and Dance: "Learning the Getting Ready Song in Preparation for the Potlatch"

  • History of two Tlingit songs
  • Vocables for two Tlingit songs


  • Memorizing vocables for two Tlingit songs
  • Singing
  • Dancing to two Tlingit songs

Day 8 Making a Paper Vest: "Making a Paper Vest With an Eagle Design for the Potlatch"

  • Sources of traditional Tlingit colors
  • How two artists made an eagle design


  • Comparing two eagle designs
  • Designing a vest

Day 9 Hearing a Tlingit Legend: "Hearing a Legend": "Watching a Shadow Puppet Performance--How Raven Brought the Fire Spirit"

  • Spirituality


  • Raven as a creator
  • Raven brings the fire and water


  • Listening to a traditional Tlingit legend
  • Re-telling the legend through sequencing pictures
  • Operating shadow puppets

Day 10 Attending a Potlatch as a Guest

  • Respect for each other 


  • Two Tlingit songs
  • Leader's responsibilities
  • Nakaani's responsibilities
  • Potlatch "manners"
  • How to say thank you


  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Listening
  • Saying "thank you"

The word "potlatch" is from the Chinook jargon and originally meant "a gift". The term has been used to represent any large feast at which food and belongings were given away by the hosts to the guests.

Potlatches are ceremonial parties honoring several different occasions. One of these is the dedication of a new clan house, or, the dedication of a new house front clan design. This will be the occasion for our potlatch.

Your class should choose three artists who will participate in making a Raven clan design for the Raven House, which is our potlatch room. The design will be made in about one hour and will be placed above the door opening of "Raven House". These artists will be paid by the Raven clan during the potlatch.

You will need to choose an Eagle clan leader who will speak the traditional phrases to represent your class. This should be someone who is able to speak well by reading from a script, or someone who can memorize the simple speeches.

Your class should also select a "Nakaani", which means, "Brother-in-law". This person will stand next to the Raven Host and will carry out any requests he makes, such as checking to see that all guests have arrived, that all guests have received food, and that the artists are paid.

These two leaders for your class will wear ceremonial button blankets at the potlatch. The rest of your class will wear their paper vests.

The third grade Raven clan will be making a gift to present to each member of the Eagle clan during the party.

A visiting elder will be helping us and will speak about the significance of what the children are enacting.

This is a wonderful opportunity for your students to experience a time of solemn respect that traditionally is paid by one clan for another. It can be a time of genuine giving and receiving in understanding a cultural exchange. We hope you will enjoy the experience as much as we do.

Juneau Indian Studies Program



By Patricia Partnow
Anchorage School District

Background Information

Late each fall, with the end of the salmon runs, Tlingit families returned one by one from their fish camps to the permanent winter village. Life in the winter meant a slowing down of subsistence activity after the frenzied summer fishing and gathering activities. There were daily chores to be performed, and hunting and trapping for immediate consumption, but the major portion of the time was taken up by manufacturing activities: weaving baskets and blankets, carving tools and ceremonial items, making canoes and preparing boards for a new community house to be put up the following summer. In addition, during midwinter (November to February), important sources of pleasure and excitement were games, stories and potlatches.

Each winter village consisted of several large houses, and each house was owned and lived in by a single extended family, or clan. The household head was usually an elderly, respected and wealthy man, and other members of the household included his male relatives, their wives and young children. Since clan relationship was determined through the mother, the men related to the household head were not his sons, but rather his nephews and younger brothers. Any slaves owned by the family lived in the house as well.

In some villages, certain clans were too large for all the members to fit in a single house. In those cases, the clans were represented by more than one house in the village. Each house maintained its own definite and immutable identity, however; it had a name and crests all its own, and membership in the house group was hereditary just as was membership in the clan as a whole.

Life in the large Tlingit community houses was perhaps a bit different from you and your student's family experiences. For one thing, an individual was seldom lonely; in fact, there may have been a decided lack of what many modern Americans feel is a necessity, privacy. In addition, a child had many more role models than his own parents or guardians: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other adults were constantly available to guide and help the child. And in case of the death of a parent, there were many more adults who could readily assume that role.

A single house might be the home of up to 50 or 60 people. Membership in the household was the most crucial identifying characteristic of an individual and Tlingits had great pride in their clan and house group. Still, in such a large group, it was inevitable that there would be personality conflicts now and then. In Tlingit culture there were certain patterned ways of dealing with such problems. For instance, although many families shared the same house, each had its own small sleeping compartment where its private property was stored. Each woman cooked meals for her own family, though in company of other women over the central fire pit. Meals were individual affairs, not the family gatherings that are the Western ideal: when a person was hungry, he or she ate; there was always a box of soup or some dried salmon around.

The complement of the local clan group, which was represented in a single village by one or more clan houses, was the larger clan group which cut across village boundaries. Thus, there were Kaagwaantaan households in Klukwan, Sitka, Yakutat and Hoonah. This extension of the clan group beyond one's local community was important in that it allowed a hunter or fisherman to travel throughout the area, always certain that he had a place to stay in a neighboring village, and broadened the range of possible marriage partners to villages outside one's own.

The village, on the other hand, was merely a geographical location in which several unrelated clans chose to live. It was not a political unit; there was no village "chief" who had authority over all clans; instead, each clan had its own recognized leader. There was an important advantage for a Tlingit clan in living next to another unrelated clan: potential marriage partners were readily available. A person could not marry within his or her clan, so it was necessary to establish a social relationship with another clan. Further, Tlingit society was divided into two marriage groups, Kaagwaantaans, for instance, belong to the Wolf! Eagle moiety, while Kiksadis belong to the Raven moiety. Members of these two clans could, therefore, marry each other. Thus, it was not enough to have unrelated clans living in the same village; in addition, at least one of the clans had to belong to the moiety opposite to that of the other clans.

In the context of this interweaving social network of clan and village, the local clan group was the basic economic and social unit of Tlingit society. It was the local clan which hosted large memorial feasts called potlatches. Similarly, wars or feuds were undertaken by and directed against single local clans or households, not against whole villages or extended clans. Ownership of resource areas (salmon streams and berry patches) by local clans has already been discussed in the fish camp information.

Formal Tlingit kinship structure was very complex, and it would serve little purpose to try to explain it in depth to your students.

Young students need only become aware that a large, extended family lived together under a single roof. The fact that the family members were related through the mother, and that all children are, therefore, of a clan different from that of their father, is also important. Most children from southeastern Alaska will also be aware of the two moieties, Raven and Eagle/Wolf. Finally, one important aspect of Tlingit kinship can be dealt with in some depth: the importance of the maternal uncle in the lives of his sister's children. Since the clan name was passed on through the mother, children were of the same clan as their mother. Their mother's brother was also of the same clan, and was responsible for teaching his nephews all clan lore, as well as disciplining them. The nephews, in turn, inherited rights and property from their uncle rather than their father. The father, being of a different clan from his children, could not, of course, be responsible for their education.

Second Grade Lesson Plans

Unit: Our Southeast Environment
Lesson: Day 1 The Stikine Migration


  • Large classroom migration poster and parts*
  • Small student migration posters
  • Classroom scissors, crayons and paste


  • Mount the large classroom migration poster
  • Learn the Stikine Migration story as told in Kahtahah by Frances Paul 

* Available from the Indian Studies Office


  • The student will hear the history of the Stikine Migration of Tlingits to the coast
  • The student will re-create the legend by placing story parts on a migration poster

Introduction (Set/Purpose)

Introduce yourself to the students and let them know you will be coming for two weeks to share knowledge about the Tlingit people. Ask the students if they have ever taken a long trip, one that took several days.

Activity (Input)

Begin to tell the Stikine Migration story, using the large classroom migration poster and story parts. When the story ends, talk about the taste of salt water and what a surprise it must have been to taste it for the first time. Ask the students what other Things may have been very new experiences for the travelers. Ask for suggestions of animals that might have been new to the people. Make a list of the animals given.

Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

Pass out a student migration poster and parts paper to each child. The children can draw an animal or a salt water creature to add to the student poster. More than one may be made. Tell the students to color the poster, cut out the travelers and their gear and paste them on the poster. You may want to allow more than one class session for this activity.

Activity (Independent Practice)

Encourage children to retell the parts of the story to a friend as they work on the poster and to share the poster and the story with their family at home.

Teacher Note:
Below are instructions for assembling the migration poster.

migration poster
Click to see bigger image

migration poster

migration poster

migration poster

migration poster
Click to see bigger image

How the

Stikheenquan Came Down

the River

"But how did the oldest ones really come to Tlingit land?"

"It is said that they came under the glacier that covered the whole of the Stikine in the very olden days. They were very brave people, those oldest ones."

"The story of their arrival comes to us from the grandmother of all grandmothers. In those days the Tlingit had traveled many weary days' marches through long grass that cut and bit deep into their legs. When they came to the headwaters of the rivers, some of the people followed the streams down to the deep waters. Some came down the Nass River, some down the Unuk, our people down the Stikine, some down the Taku and the Chilkat, some down the Alsek, and last of all, down the Copper River."

"Some stayed at the mouths of the rivers, but others went farther out among the islands, even to the ocean itself. Some of your own family went many, many miles, clear to the Smoking Mountain (Mount Edgecomb) near Sheet-kah (Sitka)."

"But how did the oldest ones know they could go under the glacier?" Kahtahah asked.

"I call them brave because they faced the unknown," her foster mother answered. "They camped at the glacier place for a long time and could see that the stream disappeared under the ice. That was all they knew. Finally an old man and his wife said, 'We are old. We have lived our lives. Give us a canoe and we will go under the ice to see what is there. So the people gave a feast and a dance for the dead and the old man and woman started down the stream while the people sang a song still remembered by us."

Stikheenquan Came Down the River
Click to see bigger image

"The shaman made medicine the whole time they were gone, and his spirit told him that the old people had gone safely

under the glacier to the other side. So the others began building canoes to follow them. Finally one day, the people saw them returning over the top of the glacier. They reported that the water was swift but safe. All of the families then got into their canoes and went under the glacier until they met on the other side."

"And that is how we came to this place, which the oldest ones named Lake-shaped-like-a-hip."

Second Grade Lesson Plans

Unit: Our Southeast Environment
Lesson: Day 2 Auke Bay Map


  • Cloth eagle*
  • Large Auke Bay map and map parts*
  • Aerial photo of Auke Bay area*
  • Student Auke Bay maps and map parts


Have map of Lingit Aanee' mounted on chalkboard

*Available from the Indian Studies Office


  • Students will investigate an eagle's feathers, eyes and talons
  • Students will prepare a map of Lingit Aanee'

Introduction (Set/Purpose)

Talk about the special skills of eagles such as: feathers and flight, eyes and eyesight, talons and hunting ability. When children have investigated the physical attributes of the eagle, talk about how our surroundings would look through an eagle's eyes. Look at the aerial photograph of Auke Bay with the children. Does anyone recognize this place? Point out the glacier, the mudflats, the lake, the islands and the mainland on the large Auke Bay map. Show students which parts show the water and the land.

Activity (Input)

Continue the Stikine Migration story to the point where some of the people came north to Auke Bay to establish a new village.

Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

Pass out a student Auke Bay map and map parts to each child. Direct the students to cut apart the parts paper on the dotted lines and find a place for each part. The parts can be colored and then pasted on the Auke Bay map.

Move among the students, helping them know where we might find mountain goats, deer, bear and check to see if they can find Auke village.

Activity (Independent Practice)

Encourage students to take their map home to share with their families.

Click to see bigger image

Click to see bigger image









Second Grade Lesson Plans

Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
Lesson: Day 3 Constructing a Tlingit Winter House


  • Booklet: Inside a Tlingit Winter House by Patricia Partnow*
  • Study print photos of winter house interiors*
  • Mini-Kit: The Whale House of the Chilkat, Alaska State Museum
  • Winter house parts*


Prepare a classroom space 6' by 8' for winter house construction

*Arrange with Indian Studies Program for use of the Tlingit winter house parts and other materials


  • The student will participate in the construction of a Tlingit winter house learning center
  • The student will participate in these learning center activities:
    • role-play a family member
    • role-play household chores
    • listen to a recorded Tlingit legend
    • make a potlatch headband

Introduction (Set/Purpose)

Give each student a copy of Inside a Tlingit Winter House, telling them that we will discover more about Tlingit houses as we read the booklet together.

Activity (Input)

Read the booklet, asking students to follow along as you read. Compare the household articles found in a Tlingit winter house with those found in our own homes. Tell the students we will construct a little Tlingit winter house in our classroom today. Assign construction tasks to groups of students.

  • 4 corner pole holders
  • 4 cloth cover placers
  • 4 household furnishers
  • 2 direction picture readers/advisors
  • 4 platform builders
  • 2 rubber band holders
  • 4 rubber band fasteners

Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

Begin construction of the Tlingit winter house, following the instructions and direction pictures provided with the house and platform parts. Establish rules for use of the house:

  • Two students at a time
  • Check with your teacher for your time

Activity (Independent Practice)

Students will participate independently in the following activities in the learning center:

  • role-play a family member
  • role-play household chores (cooking, child-care, gathering seaweed, digging clams, skinning a seal, etc.)
  • listen to a recorded Tlingit legend
  • make a potlatch headband

Click to see bigger image

Click to see bigger image


Dear Parents,

We have made a Tlingit winter house in our classroom to learn how native people lived traditionally in southeast Alaska. Here are some of the experiences we are having in Social Studies:

  • making a bentwood box
  • preparing salmon for winter food
  • learning Tlingit dance and songs
  • hearing Tlingit legends
  • participating in a potlatch

Through these experiences we are learning about regional history and traditional Tlingit values of:

  • respect
  • self-discipline
  • spirituality
  • harmony with nature
  • sense of identity
  • endurance
  • self-reliance

Would you like to visit our classroom? Check with the classroom teacher for our schedule.

Juneau Indian Studies

Second Grade Lesson Plans

Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
Lesson: Day 4 Making a bentwood Box


  • Pictures of bentwood boxes and their contents*
  • Bentwood box strips*
  • Pan with warm water
  • Bentwood box booklet*


Soak bentwood box strips in water for ten minutes


Respect for the spirit in the trees

*Available from the Indian Studies Office


  • The student will make a bentwood box
  • The student will make a crest design on a bentwood box
  • The student will hear and see how bentwood boxes were used in traditional Tlingit homes

Introduction (Set/Purpose)

Talk about where we store our things. Everyday items we store in chests of drawers, boxes and cupboards. Where could we store things in a Tlingit house?

Activity (Input)

Give each student a booklet with drawings showing how bentwood boxes are made. Explain how the steaming is done, and the sections of the box bent. Talk to the children about the Tlingit way of thinking. The trees have a spirit. The wood from the trees has a spirit. If we respect this spirit, the object we are making with wood will be made successfully. We will try this way of thinking as we make a small treasure box today.

Demonstrate how to patiently bend the corners of the box, talking to the spirit of the wood and working patiently and respectfully until all the corners are made. Gently, but firmly, put the dove-tailed joint together by pounding with your fist. Square the box by bending a little more.

Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

Pass out a wood strip to each student with a challenge to respect the spirit of the wood as they work. Some children may need help with the dove-tailed joint, but try to encourage each child to work individually with their wood strip.

Let the boxes dry overnight. Students can add a bottom and a crest design the next day.


Second Grade Lesson Plans

Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
Lesson: Day 5 Finishing Bentwood Boxes Planning for a Potlatch


  • Box bottoms*
  • Elmers glue
  • Crest emblem stamps*
  • Ink pads
  • Dry bentwood boxes from Day 4
  • Book: A Haida Potlatch by Ulli Steltzer*
  • Potlatch script developed by Austin Hammond (Tlingit elder)

*Available from the Indian Studies Office


  • The student will compare Eagle clan crests with Raven clan crests
  • The student will make a clan crest on a bentwood box
  • The student will begin to plan his participation in a Tlingit potlatch

Introduction (Set/Purpose)

Ask children to bring their bentwood boxes to their desk area. Tell the students we will make clan crests on the boxes today to show what families we belong to.

Activity Input/Closure)

Make a list on the blackboard of the clan crests used by the Raven tribe and those used by the Eagle tribe:







Dog Salmon








Invite the children to use a crest design that could belong to a Tlingit family to mark their bentwood boxes. This is a good time to explain about the ownership of a crest design by a clan or tribe, and the reasons for protecting that ownership. When all have decorated their boxes, call the students together to explain what will happen in the coming potlatch.

Here are some things to include in your discussion:

  • We are members of the Eagle tribe. We need to choose a leader. How shall we choose a leader? What qualities does a leader have?
  • The Raven tribe would like to hire three of our best artists to make a new design for their house front. Who will these artists be? How shall we choose them?
  • The Raven tribe will pay our artists for their work, and invite all Eagle tribe members to a potlatch party to honor the work we have done.
  • At a potlatch we can sing songs that belong to our tribe, and dance to honor the Ravens.
  • We can take some Tlingit food with us to share at the potlatch (smoked salmon and berry cakes).
  • We can make some special clothing to wear to the party.
  • We can travel from our village to the Raven House in a pretend canoe - big enough for our entire class!

Involve the students in the excitement of preparing for a potlatch by asking for lots of student input, correcting information to keep the learning focused on traditions common to Tlingit potlatches.

Activity (Independent Practice)

Bentwood boxes should go home to be shared with families.

Independent practice will happen at the potlatch on Day 10.

Teacher Note:

If one of the students is a member of the Raven tribe, offer the option of making a Raven design for their vest.



1. Eagles arrive in their canoe, singing the Getting Ready Song.

2. Eagles put on dance regalia and enter, singing the Going In Song.

3. Nakaani seats Eagles along both sides of the room.

  • Raven Host - (asks Nakaani) "Are any more coming?"
  • Nakaani - "No, all are here."
  • 4. Raven Host - "My dear Grandfathers, my fathers, my father's brothers, my aunts, I am glad you have come. All the people will see the Raven design that you have made for our house and we will feel better.

  • Eagle Headperson - "My sons, we wanted to do this to hold your name high, so the people will know that you live here. We will be glad, too, my dear sons."
  • 5. Raven Host - "Ravens, please serve the food to the Eagle clan." (Everyone will eat, the Ravens serving the Eagles before they eat).

    6. Raven Host - "We made these medallions for you so that you can dance with us. You can keep it to take home to think of us."

    Eagle Headperson - "Goonulcheesh. We will think of you every time we wear our medallions and dance, my dear sons." (Ravens and Eagles will sing and dance the Raven Flirting Song).

    7. Raven Host - "Grandpa (or our Tlingit elder) would like to say a few words now.

    8. Raven Host - "Now we want to pay you for the Raven design that you have made for us. Nakaani, come here to pay our artists." (Nakaani will pass treats to the Eagle artists).

    Eagle Headperson - "Thank you for what you have given us. We will enjoy it. Goonulcheesh."

    9. Raven Host - "We know how you love us. You show us by your patience in sitting with us. And now it is your turn to speak."

    Eagle Headperson - "Thank you for inviting us. We appreciate it. Now we will hold our head high when we see your new house front. The ones who are sitting here feel the same and I'm going to ask them to stand to say thank you." (Eagles all stand and say, "Goonulcheesh")

    10. Eagles leave, singing the Going Out Song. (They shake the Raven's hands as they walk out).


    Second Grade Lesson Plans

    Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
    Lesson: Day 6 Preparing Smoked Salmon


    • Fabric fish and anatomy chart*
    • A salmon thawed from the freezer
    • A cutting board with a towel
    • Paper towels
    • Knife
    • Smoker and extension cord
    • Dry mixture of:
      • 1/2 c. salt
      • 1/2 c. sugar
      • 2 Tbs. molasses in a gallon container
      • Add two quarts of water


    Be sure to take a fish from the freezer to thaw!


    Respect for the salmon

    *Available from the Indian Studies Office


    • The student will practice traditional rules in cutting salmon
    • The student will begin to prepare smoked salmon to share at a potlatch with others

    Introduction (Set/Purpose)

    Today we will begin to prepare salmon for our potlatch.

    Activity (Input)

    Tlingit people believe this salmon has a spirit that we must respect. When this salmon was swimming in the water, Grandpa put his net out to catch this fish for our food. He talked to the salmon as it came close to his net. He said, Salmon swimmer, come swim into my net so that I can catch you for my family's food." Some salmon swam right up to his net, and swoosh, jumped right over his net to continue on their way up the river to lay their eggs and fertilize their eggs. Some salmon came right up to his net and swam right under to continue on their way up the river. Some salmon even swam around the end of his net. These are the salmon that didn't want to be caught, Grandpa believes. But some salmon came right up to his net and swam right into his net. Grandpa believes these salmon wanted to be caught to become our food. He took this salmon carefully out of his net and talked again to the salmon, telling it in his language (the Tlingit language), "Goonulcheese, xat." Thank you, salmon, for becoming our food. And he believes that if we say bad things about the salmon, they will go away to another place where people respect them.

    This is a good time to talk about children's knowledge of respect for family pets like dogs and cats. Children know what reaction is given by a pet if we say harsh words or hurt them. Some children may want to share this knowledge with the group.

    Then let them know the Tlingit way of thinking about fish is the same knowledge - that fish can sense whether we respect them by the way we talk and act.

    "Before we take the cover off the salmon, will you agree to respect this salmon with me? We will tell the salmon how beautiful it is and how we will enjoy it for our food. But we can't say, "Yuk! It stinks! I hate fish! It tastes awful! or the spirit of the salmon will leave and go to another place where people will show their respect."

    Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

    When all have agreed to show their respect (or if a student needs to return to their table or seat) remove the cover from the salmon. Review all the outside parts asking for children's responses as you pause, pointing to each part.

    Then find the small opening in front of the ventral fin where we can begin opening the salmon to look inside.

    Continue reviewing each of the internal organ's name, function and color, drawing on knowledge of the students.

    Cut the salmon filets into chunks, explaining how "smoked salmon candy" is made. Invite children to each take a chunk of salmon to put in the brine. Let them know you will leave it in the brine until suppertime. Then it will be taken out of the brine and put in the refrigerator until tomorrow, when you will bring the smoker for children to smoke the salmon.


    Second Grade Lesson Plans

    Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
    Lesson: Day 7 Tlingit Song and Dance


    • Drum and beater*
    • Resource person to teach songs used in our potlatch*
    • Photographs of dancers and potlatches*


    Arrange for a Tlingit- resource person to teach the songs in our potlatch. Because different clans own different songs, the resource person invited will prefer teaching the songs from his or her clan.

    *Available from the Indian Studies Office


    • The student will hear the history of two Tlingit songs
    • The student will sing two Tlingit songs
    • The student will observe traditional Tlingit dance movements for these songs
    • The student will perform traditional Tlingit dance movement for these songs

    Introduction (Set/Purpose)

    Introduce the resource person who will teach the Tlingit songs. 

    Activity (Input)

    Assist the resource person in their teaching.

    Activity (Guided Practice and Closure)

    Assist the resource person. Show the photographs of dancers and potlatches to the children to reinforce the "real" experience.

    Activity (Independent Practice)

    Let the children know that these songs will probably come back again and again in their memory over the next few days.


    Second Grade Lesson Plans

    Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
    Lesson: Day 8 Making a Paper Vest


    • Jim Marks' Eagle design
    • Nathan Jackson's Eagle design
    • 8 1/2"xll" drawing paper
    • Classroom crayons and scissors
    • Blue crepe paper (One box of 12 pkgs. for 30 vests)
    • Crepe paper vest pattern
    • Blue masking tape for taping vest together
    • Masking tape for name labels
    • A real potlatch vest*
    • Real button blankets, felt vests and headbands*


    • Using pattern, cut out a vest back and two fronts for each student
    • Tape together with colored masking tape at shoulders and sides

    * Available from the Indian Studies Office


    • The student will compare two different Tlingit artist's Eagle designs
    • The student will hear of the sources for the traditional colors used in painting the designs
    • The student will use traditional colors to make a paper Eagle design
    • The student will complete a vest for the potlatch

    Introduction (Set/Purpose)

    Show the children Jim Marks' Eagle design. Ask the students to help identify the eagle's beak, wing, tail, talons, and spirit. Then distribute a copy of Nathan Jackson's Eagle to each student.

    Activity (Input and Closure)

    Ask the children to compare the two designs, looking for parts that are black. Let the children know that this is called the form line. Look for the red color and the blue color. Talk about the sources for these colors:

    • black: charcoal and salmon eggs
    • red: red clay or iron soil and salmon eggs
    • blue: copper ore in rock and salmon eggs

    Activity (Guided Practice)

    Encourage students to use crayons to produce traditional colors on an Eagle design. The design can be cut out and pasted on the back of a vest. Using a 8 1/2"xll" piece of drawing paper, ask the students to make their own design for the fronts of their vests. Give suggestions for designs by listing subclans under the Eagle tribe on the blackboard. Paste fringe along the lower edge and tape on a name label. Let the students know they will wear these vests at the potlatch.

    vest design



    Second Grade Lesson Plans

    Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
    Lesson: Day 9 - Hearing a Tlingit Legend


    • Cloth raven*
    • Shadow puppets
    • Extension cord
    • Shadow puppet screen and light
    • Tape recorder
    • Elder to tell a Raven legend
    • Sequential pictures


    • Set up a shadow puppet stage
    • Arrange through the Indian Studies Program for an elder resource person to tell a Tlingit legend

    *Available from the Indian Studies Office 


    • The student will hear a traditionally told Tlingit legend
    • The student will observe shadow puppets acting out the story
    • The student will retell the story with sequential pictures

    Introduction (set/purpose)

    Holding up the cloth raven or a picture of a raven, remind the children of the Raven Creation Story they heard last year in First Grade. Recall with the students how the Raven in these stories has a very special spirit and is different from the ravens we see around our school. Introduce the elder who will be the storyteller. Dim the lights and begin the story...

    Activity (input)

    As the elder tells the story, assist the student in operating the shadow puppets.

    Activity (Closure)

    Give each student a handout. Ask each student to look for places where Raven and Hawk put the fire spirit.

    Activity (Independent Practice)

    Using the sequential pictures, challenge students to retell the story, putting the pictures in order.

    Using the sequential pictures, challenge students to retell the story
    Using the sequential pictures, challenge students to retell the story
    Using the sequential pictures, challenge students to retell the story
    Using the sequential pictures, challenge students to retell the story


    Second Grade Lesson Plans

    Unit: Living in a Tlingit Winter House
    Lesson: Day 10 - Attending a Potlatch as a Guest (with Third Grade Hosts)


    • Eagle feathers and crepe paper headbands*
    • Vests made in Lesson 8
    • Drum and Song Leader
    • Canoe to travel to the potlatch
    • Dancing props such as animal pelts, bows and arrows, walking sticks*


    • See accompanying drawing of suggestions for setting up a potlatch area
    • Take student's vests to the potlatch area to have them ready to put on when the canoe arrives


    Respect for one another

    *Available from the Indian Studies Office


    • The student will participate in a Tlingit potlatch
    • The student will sing traditional Tlingit songs
    • The student will hear traditional speeches
    • The student will sample traditional Tlingit foods
    • The student will express thanks to the hosts in the traditional Tlingit way

    Introduction (Set/Purpose)

    While children are still in this classroom, explain the significance of wearing an eagle feather to a member of the Eagle tribe. Talk about kinds of symbols we see every day (the American flag, a school jacket, or the Alaska flag). Let the students know that when an eagle feather is put in our headband, our way of feeling inside, and the way we act, will become respectful of the Eagle tribe.

    Activity (Input/Guided Practice/Closure)

    Have the Eagle leader and then the Nakaani lead the class to the canoe. The song leader can begin the Getting Ready Song as the students enter their canoe. The class will paddle their canoe, singing the Getting Ready Song all the way to the potlatch area. The children can then put on their potlatch vest and carry their dancing props. As the song leader begins The Going In Song, students will dance through the oval door opening into the potlatch room. From this point, follow the potlatch script. When all Eagle guests have given their thanks to the Raven hosts, students will paddle their canoe back to their classroom. Have the students express their appreciation to their Eagle leader and Nakaani. Encourage each child to use their new knowledge when they have an opportunity to attend a Tlingit potlatch.


    Click to see bigger image









    Second Grade Resources
    Available from the Indian Studies Program

    Books for Children:

    Blueberries For Sal, by Robert McClosky, Viking Press
    A Salmon for Simon, by Betty Waterton, Douglas & McIntyre
    Red Tag Comes Back, by Fred Phler, Harper & Row
    Salmon, by Atsushi Sakurai, Alfred A. Knopf
    Small Wolf, by Nathaniel Benchley, Harper & Row
    Lingit Aanee, by Patricia Partnow, Anchorage School District
    The Tlingit Way: How To Treat Salmon, by Patricia Partnow, Anchorage School District
    Stories From Alaska, by Edward & Marguerite Dalch, Garrard Pub. Co.
    Taku and the Fishing Canoe, by Neil & Ting Morris, Silver Burdett Co.
    Kahtahah, by Frances Lackey Paul, Alaska Northwest Pub. Co.
    The Bentwood Box, by Nan McNutt, The Workshop, Seattle
    A Haida Potlatch, by Ulli Steltzer, University of Washington Press
    Sea And Cedar, by Lois McConkey, Douglas & McIntyre
    The Whale House of the Chilkat, Mini kit, Alaska State Museum

    Books for the Teachers:

    Tlingit Ways of Long Ago, by Maude Simpson & Esther Billman, Sheldon Jackson Museum
    Tlingit Thinking, by Katherine Mills, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation
    Gathering What the Great Nature Provided, by the people of Ksan, Douglas & McIntyre
    Doug Lindstrand's Alaskan Sketchbook, Sourdough Studio
    Coast of Many Faces, by Ulli Steltzer and Catherine Kerry, Douglas & McIntyre
    Indian Fishing, by Hilary Stewart, Douglas & McIntyre
    Alaska's Native People, by Lael Morgan, Alaska Geographic
    Sharing Nature with Children, by Joseph Bharat Cornell, Anada Publications
    English-Tlingit Dictionary:Nouns, Sheldon Jackson College
    Beginning Tlingit, by Nora and Richard Dauenhauer, Tlingit Readers, Inc.
    Effective Practices In Indian Education, Teacher's Monograph, by Floy C. Pepper, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
    Cedar, by Hilary Stewart, Douglas & McIntyre
    Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast, by Allan Lobb, Graphic Arts Center Pub. Co., Portland, Oregon
    Any of the Christie Harris series (for retelling stories to children), Atheneum
    Raven's Cry (Haida history)
    Once Upon A Totem
    Once More Upon A Totem
    The Trouble with Princesses
    Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads
    Sky Man On the Totem Pole
    Mouse Woman and the Mischief Makers
    Mouse Woman and the Vanished Princesses

    Video Tapes:

    Salmon, Catch To Can, Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, (Alaska State Film Library)
    The Choice Is Ours, U.S. Forest Service (Alaska State Film Library)
    The Shadow and the Spirit, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    Haa Shagoon, Austin Hammond & the Chilkat Indian Association Alaska State Film Library)
    Potlatch To A Monument, Alaska State Film Library
    First Americans Emphasis Week, KTOO, (Alaska State Film Library)


    Potlatch People (16mm), Alaska State Film Library
    Richard's Totem Pole, (16mm) Alaska State Film Library

    Cassette Tapes:

    Photograph of a bark house
    Photograph of a traditional Tlingit village
    Photograph of the Whale House interior, Alaska State Museum
    Canoes with sails photograph, Sheldon Museum, Haines
    Photograph of Auke village (in town), Alaska State Museum
    Photograph of Tlingits dressed for a potlatch, Alaska State Museum
    Living by the Seasons, Juneau Indian Studies Program
    Tlingit Clan Designs, Juneau Indian Studies Program

    Other Resources Available from the Indian Studies Program:

    Tlingit Winter House Parts
    poles, 2x4's and cover
    cedar platform
    animal hides
    seal with removable insides
    seal oil lamp

    Potlatch Materials:

    Button Blankets and tunics
    fire materials
    animal hides and skins
    speaker's staffs
    cedar bark hat
    feast dish
    wooden potlatch spoon
    model wooden canoe
    bear mask

    Bentwood Boxes and strips for making boxes

    Clan design stamps

    Shadow Puppet Production Material

    Tlingit foods

    seal oil
    red ribbon seaweed
    black seaweed
    soap berries

    Resource People

    Contact the Indian Studies Program for assistance in finding people with expertise as:

    Singers and dancers
    Grandparents with subsistence knowledge


    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing

    Third Grade
    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing

    First Grade
    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing

    Fourth Grade
    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing

    Second Grade
    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing

    Fifth Grade
    Teacher Overview
    Teacher Summary
    Lesson Plans/Handouts
    Teacher Activity Worksheet
    Resource Listing



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    Alaska Native Knowledge Network
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
    PO Box 756730
    Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
    Phone (907) 474.1902
    Fax (907) 474.1957
    Questions or comments?
    Last modified August 18, 2006